E-sabong operators can help with policy-making for the game

September 16, 2022 People's Journal 119 views

“Nothing makes us happier than to work with the regulators to help grow the eSabong industry.”

A GAMING technology executive has proposed the close coordination of the government along with eSabong operators to help grow the industry in the Philippines.

In an interview, Jade Entertainment and Gaming Technologies, Inc. Chief Executive Officer Joe Pisano, said that his company is willing to coordinate with lawmakers to help deal with the public outcry surrounding eSabong.

“We’re happy to work with the lawmakers. I believe there’s a lot we can contribute to help form regulations and to help drive away the illegal [operators],” Pisano said.

“At the moment the government’s losing, the community is losing, and it’s something we can do together to help build the industry. The Philippines is the hub for gaming now…nothing makes us happier than to work with the regulators to help grow the eSabong industry,” he added.

Pisano said that eSabong can be a good source of income for the government as it has an entire ecosystem of industries that support it.

This spans from sectors under breeders, feed makers, veterinary, and employment which contributes to a total of 35 percent corporate tax for the government.

Former President Rodrigo Duterte said in March that the eSabong industry provides the government with about P640 million per month on revenue alone. It generated a total of P2.03 billion in the first half of the year.

Pisano also said that eSabong should be treated as any other sport as it has the same set of rules and mechanisms in place since it has also been a profession for a long time.

He added that while other sports like basketball, tennis, and football all have betting systems in place, sabong should also be given the same treatment.

“Sports betting on cockfighting would be natural on what we do today…We want [for] cockfighting to be treated like any other sport and go through the same treatment as any other sport,” Pisano said.

The CEO also shared that industries that invested heavily in the three-year license given to eSabong operators were forced to cut down manpower due to the loss of revenue, and have no means to recover.

His company, Jade, currently has been forced to cut its more than 200 staff to just 30 due to the ban on eSabong.

“Since the operations have been reduced, we have only operated for about five months…so we have taken a lot of losses…we just can’t sustain them with our operations,” said Pisano.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Andrea Domingo said that eSabong makes up 8 to 10 percent of the corporation’s income which climbed to a total of P26.70 billion for the first six months of 2022.

In 2020, Congressmen Joey Salcedo and AAMBIS-OWA Party-List Representative Sharon Garin filed a measure seeking the imposition of new taxes for eSabong to help resuscitate the economy.